Don’t Worry About Marketing Because You’ve Got a Team of Horses
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: “Let me tell you about widgetX. It’ll take your business from zero to six figures in a week or less! Results guaranteed!” Obviously, that’s too good to be true. You’re going to avoid writing any marketing so scammy for your business. But how do you market your business?
There are just so many marketing strategies and tactics. Every social media channel has its own quirks, oh, and its own pay-per-click option. Each of which is a little different. There are more networking events than even the most extroverted person could attend. Or maybe the secret lies in blogging, YouTubing? No — podcasting!
Any one of these could be the secret to your marketing success. But which one? Maybe there isn’t a single best one and you need to try some out… but which one to do first? That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article. It doesn’t matter what your industry, your audience, or your unique talents. This is the one ring, er, marketing strategy, to rule them all! You need a balanced team of marketing horses. There are precisely two horses in this team, and one’s a plow horse and the other is a racehorse.
A Two Horse Marketing Team
For self-employed business owners, we can’t be doing everything and anything. We need to whittle down our marketing to a manageable number of effective tactics. You’re working in your business most of the time. You’ve got to split the scant hours you spend working on your business among many things: administrative tasks, financial management, internet outages, marketing, and sales efforts. This is why we only have two marketing horses.
Why a Racehorse and a Plow Horse?
Each horse has its own role to play. One of these horses is a plow horse: slow, steady, dependable. It gets results, but those results won’t show up for a season or more. The other horse is a racehorse. Fast as a flash but then it’s tuckered out and done. We hitch these two horses together to get the best of both worlds: a steady investment in long-term results and the immediate impact of a short-term hustle.
Picking Your Two Marketing Horses
We’re going to start with the plow horse marketing activity. This is a marketing effort that is small but steady. It usually involves creating content of some sort. If you write out your thoughts in a long format, then you’re built for blogging. If you can point your camera at yourself and make magic happen, then you’re a shoo-in for TikTok or YouTube. If you’d rather not be seen, but you can talk up a storm, then podcasting. If you habitually snap photos, then Instagram. Focus on what you can create as simply as breathing. THAT’s the content you’ll create. Then the content dictates the most reasonable platform.
But here’s the secret to content creation: you create only ONE type of content. You don’t have to post to only one social media channel. To extend your reach you can repurpose your main content elsewhere. I describe this in more detail in my past article on Content Marketing When Self-Employed.
Your plow horse will likely need some kind of creation timeline. This is the frequency at which you create new content. There are plenty of people who will tell you what frequency you “must” have. The actual best frequency is the frequency you can maintain. So set your goal frequency to be so low that it’s VERY easy to sustain. Even if that means you’re posting a single Instagram post per month. That’s more effective marketing than daily Instagram posts for a week and then nothing for 6 months.
That Shiny Racehorse
Once you’ve got your plow horse identified, we’re ready to shift focus to the racehorse. A racehorse marketing activity is a project you do for a finite amount of time, and then you’ll move on to another idea. This is the opposite of the plow horse’s ongoing, small effort. The racehorse is a little more effort for a much shorter amount of time. Most racehorse marketing projects last about three months or you’ll have 3–4 of them in a year.
Racehorse projects tend to be things with a higher or more immediate ROI. High ROI marketing is more people-interactive. So steer yourself towards projects that involve reaching out to people. This includes: seeking people out for coffee dates, touring networking events, guesting on podcasts, shopping a blog article around to get published, etc.
Once you finish a racehorse project, you move on to another marketing idea. Swap that racehorse out for a fresh horse! You can always repeat ideas, but this lets you capture a bit more breadth of marketing. You can try new things, and if something isn’t successful it’s not a crisis. All your eggs aren’t in one basket. You’ve got other options available if something in society or a computer algorithm shifts. Often times the fruits of a racehorse project might not be clear for months. Leaving the project lets you focus on something else while you wait for the data to come in. You can later evaluate what past racehorse marketing activities you’d like to repeat.
And that’s it. With one racehorse and one plow horse, you’re doing enough marketing. Keep steady with that plow horse and have only one new/active/different idea at any time. The racehorse is a great catch-all for your flights of fancy. Keep a list of future racehorse project ideas — that new social media platform you want to try, or a cool tactic you’ve heard about. Put all the new ideas on the list for later and focus on the one in front of you right now. Now stop worrying about your marketing and get back to doing the thing you love: working in your business!